We're close enough to Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit to taste it and that's got us in the mood for a little bit of nostalgia.
Jeter has had so many memorable moments over his career that whittling them down to a list of 25 is very hard to do, especially when you leave out iconic plays that didn't happen with a bat in his hands such as the flip to Jorge Posada in the 2001 playoffs against Oakland to get Jeremy Giambi at the plate.
We've done our best, though.
As you'll see, plenty of these hits don't count toward Jeter's career totals because they came in the postseason, but we'll leave it up to you to decide where 3,000 ranks among the ones that came before.
25. Game Six, 1998 ALCS – Jeter has had better playoff series than the one against the Indians, but he got a mighty big hit to help send the team to the World Series. With the Yankees up 6-5 in the sixth, Jeter tripled in a pair of runs to give Mariano Rivera all the insurance that he’d need.
24. First Inside-the-Park Home Run – This happened all the way back on August 2, 1996 when Jeter plated himself and Joe Girardi on a 10th inning inside-the-park job. The game is more memorable for what happened in the bottom of the inning: The Royals scored four times off a kid named Rivera in a moment that in no way foreshadowed things to come.
23. Game One, 1998 World Series – Everyone remembers Tino Martinez’s grand slam that broke open the game and set the stage for a four-game sweep of the Padres. Jeter was on third base for that blast thanks to a single.
22. First 200-Hit Season – Jeter has had 200 hits in a season seven times and did it first with a double against the Rays on September 25, 1998. Trivia note: The hit came off of future Yankee pitching coach Dave Eiland.
21. Game One, 2009 ALDS – The Yankees have owned the Twins in the postseason for years. The 2009 edition of their dominance got underway when Jeter’s two-run homer wiped out an early Minnesota lead on the way to a three-game sweep.
20. 1,000th Hit – It seemed like a pretty big deal in September of 2000 when Jeter got to 1,000 hits. Time has lessened the memory, if not the significance of that step toward Cooperstown.
19. Game Four, 2000 ALCS – The Mariners found themselves in a must-win Game Four if they wanted to avoid a 3-1 hole in the ALCS. They’d extend the series to six games, but a big part of the reason they fell short of the Series was Jeter’s three-run blast in the fifth inning to spur a Yankee shutout victory.
18. Game Five, 1999 ALCS – The Red Sox would need a miracle to come back from 3-1 down in the fifth game of the 1999 ALCS. They would have to wait until 2004 for that miracle to arrive after Jeter’s two-run first inning home run made the outcome academic.
17. 2001 All-Star Game – No Yankee had hit a home run in an All-Star Game since Yogi Berra in 1959. Jeter changed that in the sixth inning at Safeco Field.
16. First Win at the New Stadium – The Yankees lost the first game at the New Yankee Stadium and were tied 5-5 in the eighth inning of the second contest. That’s when Jeter put a ball into the stands, breaking the tie and giving the new joint its first chance to hear Frank Sinatra serenade the departing fans.
15. Most Hits at Old Yankee Stadium – Many of Jeter’s records will someday be broken, but not this one. His first inning single on September 16, 2008 was the 1,207th of his career at the House That Ruth Built, more than anyone else in history.
14. First World Series Hit – Jeter’s first hit in the Fall Classic came off Greg Maddux in Game Two of the 1996 Series. Like all the other firsts on this list, there have been plenty more to follow.
13. 2000 All-Star Game – Jeter drove in two runs in the top of the fourth to put the AL up for good and pave the way for an MVP award for his trophy case. Jeter can thank A-Rod for the chance as his future teammate was supposed to start but missed the game with an injury.
12. 2,000th Hit – The road to 3,000 is paved with many milestones, including this infield single on May 26, 2006 off of Kansas City’s Scott Elarton. He could have stopped there and been secure with an amazing legacy, thankfully he kept on going.
11. Most Hits By a Shortstop – The Yankees lost 10-3 to the Mariners on August 16, 2009, but Jeter made it a memorable night by passing Luis Aparicio to become the all-time hits leader among shortstops. His 2,674th hit as a shortstop came on an RBI double off Doug Fister in the third inning.
10. Game Seven, 2003 ALCS – The bottom of the eighth inning that Grady Little will replay in his mind forever started going bad when Jeter doubled off a gassed Pedro Martinez. He’d score the first of three Yankee runs that tied the game at 5 and helped make Aaron Boone a household name.
9. The Only Grand Slam – Jeter has had 261 plate appearances with the bases loaded in the regular season. The only time he went deep was on June 18, 2005 against the Cubs.
8. Yankee Hit Leader – Jeter’s place on the list of legendary Yankees was secure long before September 11, 2009, but his single to become the franchise’s all-time hit leader was impressive nonetheless. Naturally, number 2,722 came on a single to the opposite field after an inside-out swing.
7. First Playoff Hit – The Yankees lost Game One of the 1996 American League Division Series to the Rangers, but Jeter got his feet wet in the ninth inning of the losing cause. He’s had 184 of them since then, more than any other player in the history of baseball.
6. First Hit – You can’t get to 3,000 without getting the first hit. Jeter grounded a single through the left side against Seattle’s Tim Belcher in his second big-league game and never looked back.
5. Game Five 2000 World Series – Jeter had a bigger moment in the Subway Series, which is probably why he wound up as MVP. His homer in the top of the sixth of Game Five tied the score at 2, set the stage for Luis Sojo’s game-winner and helped the Yankees to their threepeat.
4. Opening Day Homer 1996 – Jeter came to the big leagues with a lot of fanfare and wasted no time making good on the hype. He homered off Cleveland’s Dennis Martinez en route to winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
3. Game Four 2000 World Series – The Yankees lost momentum when they lost Game Three of the Subway Series to the Mets. It took them all of one pitch in Game Four to get it back thanks to Jeter’s leadoff homer against Bobby Jones.
2. Game One, 1996 ALCS, a.k.a. the Jeffrey Maier Home Run – An unassuming 12-year-old became a part of history when he reached over the fence and grabbed a Jeter fly ball away from Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco. It was a blown call by the umpire, but a memorable moment and Jeter’s first playoff homer all the same.
1. Game Four, 2001 World Series, a.k.a. Mr. November – Hitting a home run to win a WS game in extra innings is cool in its own right. Doing it after Tino Martinez sent the game to extras with two outs in the ninth during the first MLB game ever played in November during the epic 2001 Fall Classic? Pure Jeter.